If you've got firm tits and a buzz cut, chances are you're just one of many Cardiff U. staffers in desperate need of getting corn holed by the donkey outside Pappa Gallo in Nuevo Laredo:
9/13/04 - This is just my testament on my experience with higher education in Britain. My basis of comparison is UT in Austin, Texas where we're all just dumbfuck, inbred, redneck, lardasses that love George W. Bush and think it's great to have no health care, a massive prison system and jerk offs with Bachelor's degrees serving drinks as a career. Welcome.
The dissertation was handed in this morning. We were then informed that our hard drive space and computer access will be terminated in four days. Before I even finished asking Miss BuzzCut if there was anyway to extend my computer access for a few weeks because I need to find a job and have no computer, she promtly cut me off to say, "No."
"But, I don't..."
"No. No way in Hell. In fact, you can eat some fucking shit. What'd'ya think about that you whiny American faggot? We've got 11,000 students and we have to make space for the new ones."
When I informed her that the University of Texas (which would've cost about four grand to attend for a year as opposed to sixteen like Cardiff U) has 52,000 fucking students and they let me use the lab for the better part of the year after I graduated she responded:
"Yeah. Well we don't have those types of facilities."
No shit huh? Four times as much money and only a fraction of the students to deal with? Let's back up. This is a run down of the year-long Master's in International Journalism for anybody interested in attending this school ranked #5 for journalism in the UK. Seems this program is not unusual in terms of suckitude by comparison to the MA in PR, European Journalism or Creative Writing. (Admittedly, anybody taking classes on how to write creatively probably already has something wrong with them, but never the less they have the course and also now have lawsuits against the looney tunes course director who's obviously been acting like a nepotistic Hitler.)
DISSERTATION: I'll skip the 'sessions' or whatever the fuck they called them in the spring and get to the actual writing. This first story is almost identical to two other students under my supervisor and very similar to another.
To start, I had a basic outline of four chapters to break up my subject on journalism in the US becoming so compromised by a competitive market that comedy and entertainment is an increasingly important outlet of information for people. This was my ultimate argument and what I wanted to spend most of my time researching and writing on.
In their initial brilliant move on the dissertation, the professors told us all to write our literature review first. Read that again perhaps. The first thing they wanted us to do wasn't a sample Abstract explaining our dissertation, not an Introduction, not a draft of our primary arguments. No, they wanted us to write a 3,500 word article reviewing all the literature and sources and interviews we used to complete this massive project, which we of course had not yet written anything on and of course none of the interviews had yet to be conducted, but review them anyways even if they don't exist. Needless to say, the final thing most of us did was to re-write a literature review in the last two weeks because it's fucking retarded to ask us to do that first.
Next, my supervisor told me to combine my proposed first two chapters and write those first. I told him I thought that was a bad idea and emailed him on three different occasions explaining that the whole process was backwards because I needed to focus on my primary argument before I would know what all historical and periphrial information would be necessary to make somebody understand my main points until I actually make those main points. His response every single time was, "Don't worry about that."
Well, great. Glad that's solved. Then for the next month and a half the supervisor asked me to write chapter one - a history on the FCC, indecency, censorship and patriotism. No problem. And if I brought up the concern that I'd have to scrap all this work and redo it because it might be irrelevant to my final points or worse there might be such a thick body of work in the beginning that I wouldn't have enough time to redo everything and my final argument will be shaped by all this historical crap - "Oh, don't worry about that."
After a month and a half of him making us rewrite chapter one, I was going home to Texas and he told everybody the whole dissertation is due in two weeks. I think most of us turned in a bunch of outlines.
He came and talked to me once and said to separate chapter one into two chapters. Wait. What was it he told me to do at the beginning? Wasn't it combine the first two chapters into one? And he says to make each chapter on a different type of censorship. I didn't get into a debate, but I did mention that the chapter wasn't about censorship. I received a blank stare and just went about my business.
The supervisor then went on vacation and told me, "You're on your own." From this point things actually moved forward, but you can read the bitch log below for more specifics. -There are two computer labs in our college: one shitty, one decent. They decided to kick us out of the decent one at 5pm starting at the beginning of August and said it'd always been like that which is bullshit. Fine. I'll use the decent one until 5pm. But then one day there were two fat guys in there and they said they were fixing the computer lab. From that point on, the fixed computers in the decent lab no longer had certain fancy programs like a word processor.
Move to the shitty lab. The computers there never let you save your tiny word file because it says there's no room on your hard drive space and it says a blank floppy disc doesn't have enough space to save one word file. This happens the week that the third option, student union, is closed. Many times I printed what I'd written one day only to come in the next morning and re-write it just to try and save it or email it to myself again.
It got finished without the supervisor looking at anything other than chapter one. This is a typical story. And I just have to hope and assume I did everything right.
COURSE: I'll keep this brief because you can email any of the students from this course and probably get a similar story which I'd rather commit suicide with a blender than tell all the way through again.
Real quick. Could never get an answer from overseas as to the specifics of the course. Are there electives? Is it a set curriculum? Is there something I can do to prepare?
There was never an answer to these questions. They said wait for registration which consisted of walking to a building in BFE that had a set curriculum on it and then walking it to our college. Why didn't they mail it or do it by computer? Let's move on.
International office stares at you like a rabbit in the headlights when you show up to check in. There's no explanation as to the grading system. But all this is acceptable because the whole course revolves around this one guy Geoff who seems smart, inspiring and is completely in charge.
Geoff dies of a heart attack before the first semester ends.
They put the second in charge in charge. He hires some woman who'd worked for a local paper in England to teach the primary course for International Journalism.
9am-5pm: We come in and the woman would get up and start to talk. Never once was there an outline or anything she'd teach other than one, stupid point. If the point that day was that if you're writing a soft feature and to make it good you need to find an angle that makes it interesting and work with that, she'd babble aimlessly on that for 45 minutes. Then after 45 minutes, she'd pick up a newspaper and randomly point at the thing while continuing to talk aimlessly. Then after nearly two hours, you begin to try and emit laser beams from your eyes to burn a whole through the wind bag so she'll stop talking, but to no avail. Usually after two hours and fifteen minutes, she'd give us a fifteen minute coffee break and then we'd come back and repeat this until lunch.
This was the main course. I think I've surpassed the amount I expanded my writing portfolio by during that class with just this one rant. In the last two weeks, we made one single newspaper and an online version. I'm no teacher presently, but shouldn't we have been doing that the whole time? I'm still confused as if this was some radical teaching process that was specifically engineered so we'd all glean a deeper meaning from it, and not just a complete bullshit, jag off, cluster fuck that robbed 48 students, every last one of them foreign, of £7,800 - and they already have the next 50 suckers set up for this year. I tend to think it's the latter. And it seems a consensus among the class: We've been robbed.
Fuck CU. Just give us our piece of paper and let us pity the next lot of schmoes.
(PS - The last European Journalism course all complained to the head of the course that the whole program was shit and they weren't learning anything. The head said it was fine. They all complained to the head of the department. She said it was fine. They all finally wrote individual letters to the head of the university. He cancelled the course.)